Caledonia — Camela Diaz is the new director of secondary education for the school district. SNN gets to know her in this edition of Meet Your Administrators.
Camela Diaz’s office in the Caledonia administration building has a large window overlooking farmland, with a ledge occupied by several thriving plants.
Some used to belong to her mom, who loved watching things grow and passed her passion onto Diaz.
“I love gardening,” she said. “I like to have life around me and think I have a little bit of a green thumb.”
In addition to encouraging her plants to grow, Diaz gets to encourage students, staff and administration growth as the new director of secondary education, a brand new position for CCS.
“It doesn’t feel like I’ve only been here three months, but I’m still learning how my strengths can support my colleagues and vice versa,” she said. “It’s been fun and exciting and I’m loving every minute of the work. We’re building the ship as we sail it.”
As a member of the district’s Teaching and Learning team, Diaz provides administrative oversight of grades 5-12. She also oversees professional learning for staff and the leadership of all secondary principals.
“Caledonia has grown a lot over the last few years and we just didn’t see one person being able to oversee everyone’s needs all at once,” Superintendent Dedrick Martin said. “Dr. Diaz’s role gives more attention to the secondary grade levels and her considerable experience in education will provide the support our secondary schools will utilize to move forward.”
What is your education background? Diaz began her career in Pasadena, California working as a special education teacher with emotionally impaired secondary students. After completing her master’s degree, she returned to Michigan and spent 23 years in the Lansing School District, where she served as a special education coordinator, principal, and central office administrator.
- Bachelor’s degree in special education, Eastern Michigan University
- Master’s degree in special education, California State University
- Doctorate in educational leadership, Michigan State University
What would you like to share about your family? Diaz married her husband, Frank, in 1999, before moving back to Michigan. They have one son, Frankie, two cats and a unique partnership.
“My husband lives down in South Carolina. He has a really great job there and I have a really great job here. We made the choice and commitment to make it work and we are coming up on our 24th wedding anniversary. We are living la vida loca!”
Hobbies/Interests/Little-known talent: “I am a singer and have been in musical theater since I was very young. I did participate in a singing group when I lived in South Carolina, but haven’t done anything since. I love baking for principal meetings and for the administration office, sewing and gardening.”
What’s the biggest lesson you have learned from students? “You can always grow and you can always learn from those around you, your peers, your teacher and administration. Be open to that and don’t see yourself as the smartest person in the room. What you can learn from those around you will grow you and I’m still growing.”
What are some of your goals for your new position? “My mission is to work collectively and collaboratively with teachers and administrators on behalf of children and their families to create welcoming and engaging learning environments. I don’t want to come in and fix something that isn’t broken and I don’t have all the answers. It’s healthy for constructive conflict, like the sandpaper effect: Rubbing on each other in positive ways makes us both shinier.”